NASA's SOFIA Observatory Makes First Direct Detection of Water in Sunlit Lunar Soil

Illustration depicting water molecules trapped in lunar soil, along with SOFIA onboard a modified Boeing 747SP jetliner. Image Credit: NASA/Daniel Rutterit

The Moon is generally thought of as a very dry place, with no surface water or even water vapor clouds. Nothing but arid, dusty regolith and rocks. That’s true for the most part, […]

New Images and Scheduled Observations of Pluto as New Horizons Closes In

Pluto’s fascinating terrain and various geologic features are revealed in detail in this latest black-and-white image from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft. The image was taken with the onboard Long Range Reconnaissance Imager, or LORRI on July 9, while New Horizons was approximately 5.4 million km away from the dwarf planet. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI


Just Days Before Historic New Horizons Flyby, SOFIA Makes Observations of Pluto

From NASA: “Image is an artist’s conception of the Pluto occultation seen close-up, not a photo.” NASA’s SOFIA jetliner recently observed Pluto during an occultation event, prior to New Horizons’ historic flyby. Image Credit: NASA

In a year brimming with ongoing discoveries about distant, unknown worlds, including the Solar System’s planets and a […]

New Color Images Show 'Two Faces' of Pluto and Odd Dark Spots Along Equator

New color images of Pluto sent back by New Horizons showing two different “faces” or hemispheres of the dwarf planet and its largest moon Charon. Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

First there were the unusual bright spots on Ceres, which are still awaiting an explanation, and now as […]

SOFIA Observations Reveal a Surprise in Massive Star Formation

Figures 1a and 1b show the G35 protostar at wavelengths of 31 and 37 microns taken by the FORCAST instrument on the SOFIA observatory’s infrared telescope in 2011. (Zhang et al. 2013, Astrophysical Journal)

WASHINGTON — Researchers using the airborne Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) have captured the most detailed mid-infrared images […]